Journalist Ashley Preece has hinted that Steven Gerrard may be about to swing the axe down on his Aston Villa side.
So far, however, only Matt Targett and Trezeguet who were shipped out on loan in January by the former Liverpool captain have departed permanently, while goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic and Conor Hourihane have left on free transfers after spending the entirety of last term on loan elsewhere as well.
Now reacting to comments made by Gerrard following Villa’s 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar in the Queensland Champions Cup, Preece is expecting Gerrard to ‘ramp up’ his efforts to trim the squad.
Speaking on the Claret and Blue podcast he said: “Gerrard also on transfers as well he said a few haven’t done enough in pre-season, so there’ll be some exits on the horizon to go out and play some game time. So he’s being quite ruthless in that respect.
“He said players who aren’t playing, they aren’t going to play here – simple as that. So he’ll fine-tune his squad once the tour is over. I would expect that to ramp up as well.”
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With the arrivals of Boubacar Kamara, Ludwig Augustinsson, Philippe Coutinho, Diego Carlos and Robin Olsen the Villans squad has been left ‘bloated’ with 33 players (via BirminghamLive).
Only 26 travelled on the pre-season tour to Australia with Anwar El Ghazi who is expecting a child, Kortney Hause, recovering from a knee injury and contract rebel Carney Chukwuemeka all being left at Bodymoor Heath.
A plethora of players found themselves sparsely used by Gerrard last season, with El Ghazi (who spent the second half of last term at Everton), Morgan Sanson and Bertrand Traore perhaps the most likely to leave given their limited involvement.
But perhaps the former Rangers manager has changed his stance on a couple of players while on tour and so it remains to be seen who gets chopped.